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Pumpkin Spiced Semifreddo with Salted Carmel Sauce | Great Performances


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Pumpkin Spiced Semifreddo with Salted Carmel Sauce
by Andrew Luzmore

When I was studying abroad in France, I often hosted small dinner parties for my friends in my minuscule studio apartment. Often, dinner would be limited to loaves of bread and good cheese, but the times I did cook were always an enjoyable challenge because of the limited kitchen equipment in the apartment. This recipe quickly became my go-to dessert for these gatherings because it's a crowd-favorite and does not require an oven or any large appliances.


For the pumpkin puree:
1 cup pumpkin (or any winter squash), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup sugar

For the salted caramel sauce:
2 cups sugar
¼ cup water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1¼ teaspoons sea salt

For the semifreddo:
1 cup pumpkin puree (see above)
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons mild honey
1 tablespoon molasses
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
3 large egg yolks
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs
¼ cup salted caramel sauce (see above)


For the pumpkin puree bring 2 cups of water to boil and add the sugar and pumpkin. Simmer until the pumpkin is completely tender. Drain the water and transfer the pumpkin to a blender. Blend until completely smooth (you may need to add a tablespoon of water to get it moving). Reserve in the refrigerator until needed.

For the salted caramel sauce mix together the cream and vanilla and set aside. Using a heavy bottomed sauce pan heat the sugar and water over medium-high heat until the sugar turns dark-golden brown. Remove from the heat and carefully mix in the butter and half of the cream. Note: the mixture will steam and bubble so use a towel for your stirring hand. Add the remaining cream and salt and reserve at room temperature until needed.

Using a whisk beat the cream until soft peaks and reserve in the refrigerator until needed. In a small sauce pan mix together the honey, molasses, sugar, and water. Bring the syrup to a boil over medium heat and heat until a thermometer reads 238F.

Meanwhile, place the egg yolks in a large bowl and lightly beat. While whisking the yolks, slowly drizzle in the hot syrup until the syrup is fully incorporated and the yolks are cool and airy. Mix in the pumpkin puree and spices to the yolks. Working in thirds, slowly fold in the whipped cream until the entire mixture is homogenous.

Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap and cover the bottom with a third of the gingersnap cookie crumbs. Pour half of the semifreddo base into the loaf pan and cover with another third of the crumbs and about 1/4 cup of the salted caramel sauce. Top with the remaining base and crumbs. Cover the top with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least 3 hours. To serve, invert the loaf pan and remove the plastic wrap. Run a knife under hot water and cut the semifreddo into 1 inch slices. Top with more caramel sauce and enjoy.

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